Sharia in Dearborn. From the Detroit Free Press, with thanks to all who sent this in:
When Arrwa Mogalli agreed to plunk down $1,465 for a lifetime membership with the Fitness USA chain of gyms, she did so after being promised that its Lincoln Park facility would be open only to women on certain days.
As a devout Muslim, Mogalli firmly believes her religion frowns on her working out where she could see men — and men could see her — moving and dressed in a manner that might seem immodest.
So when the Lincoln Park gym decided this month to open up part of the center to both sexes every day, the 28-year-old Dearborn resident and other area Muslims felt cheated. So far, about 200 Muslim women with Fitness USA memberships have signed a petition asking the chain to return to gender-specific days for the entire gym or to put up a divider so men and women can’t see each other while working out.
Fitness USA officials met with one of the women and a Muslim advocate this week at their corporate office in West Bloomfield and said they are working on a response to the women’s concerns. But they also noted that their written contracts say nothing about gender.
The women’s concerns reflect the ways many Muslims in metro Detroit are trying to blend their American lifestyles with Islamic traditions. In recent years, for example, Dearborn Public Schools has offered gender-segregated gym and swimming classes. The move came after a growing number of Muslim parents expressed concerns about their children attending physical education classes with the opposite sex, school officials said.